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In a session I did with Brian Clark at Third Tribe last week Brian made the statement – Guest Posting is the New Article Marketing.
In days gone by the way one of the best ways to build a website’s ranking in search engines and to pull in traffic was to write articles for article marketing sites and allow others to republish them on their own sites. In return you’d get a link or two back to your own site.
While I know some bloggers do use article marketing as part of their promotional mix the evidence that I’ve seen lately shows that links in these types of articles tend to count for less than they once did as Google gets smarter in the way that they rank websites.
I wouldn’t write off article writing completely but in the last couple of years we’ve seen the emergence of guest posting as a primary way for bloggers to build their profile, traffic and generate some SEO Google Juice to their sites.
Over the last few years I’ve seen numerous guest bloggers really build careers for themselves in a variety of niches. People like Leo Babauta and Chris Garrett are two that come to mind who built solid reputations and sizeable audiences for themselves through the tactic of guest posting.
While Guest Posts can be a great tactic to use to grow your presence – as someone who uses quite a few guest posts on my blogs I’ve noticed an incredible variety in the quality of guest posts that I’m pitched. I get 20-30 guest posts per week – I couldn’t use them all even if I wanted to – but there are some things that make some guest posters much more attractive to me than others.
In this post I want to explore 10 things that I’ve noticed about the best guest posters that set them apart from the field. These things make them more attractive to me as a blogger evaluating a guest post – but they also make the guest post more effective – which has flow on effects for the guest poster.
1. Offer Your Best Posts
I chatted with one blogger a few months back that told me that his guest post strategy was to give away his 2nd rate posts as guest posts to other blogs. He kept his best stuff for his own blog and whipped up half hearted posts for guest spots.
While I understand the temptation to keep your best content for your own blog and give a half hearted effort for other blogs if you want to maximise the chance of getting a guest post published on a well known blog and you want to maximise its impact upon the readers of that blog – you need to keep the quality up in your guest posts.
2nd rate posts are not likely to get published and if they do – they’ll not drive you the traffic that a first rate post would do.
So take the time to carefully craft your guest posts and to make them as useful as possible.
2. Use Images
This will vary a little depending upon the blog you are submitting to but I know if a guest post is submitted to me that has a good creative commons licensed image with it that I am much more likely to use it.
I love images – they lift a post to a new dimension and make it attention grabbing to readers – if a guest poster goes to the effort of finding such an image I’m always impressed.
3. Optimize the Images
If you do send in an image to go with the post make sure you take a few moments to optimize it and make it ready for posting. By this I mean:
- reduce the file size of the image so it’ll load fast
- make sure the image width will fit into the post box on the blog you’re submitting to so that the blogger doesn’t need to resize it
- name the file something that will help the SEO of the post (use a keyword in the heading).
These things are all small touches that can not only make an impression upon the blogger but help the post load fast, look good and rank a little higher in search engines.
4. Do a Little On Page SEO
While we’re talking search engine optimisation – take a few moments after writing your post to think about SEO. You might not think there’s any reason to do this and that its the blog owners job – but if your guest post ranks well in Google you’re more likely to benefit from the post for the long term as it’ll continue to attract traffic (it’ll also help pass on some Google Juice to your own blog through your byline links).
On page SEO includes making sure you work out what keywords you want the post to rank for and then using those keywords in places like the title of the post, header tags, image alt tags etc.
5. Format Your posts
Another tip to think about before sending off a post is to look at the styling and formatting that the blog normally uses for its posts.
For example – does the blog use headings in posts? If so – what header tags does it use? If it’s <h3> tags, put your own headers into <h3> tags.
If the blog uses blockquotes – consider using that. If the blog has a byline in a certain style or format – include yours in that format. The more ready your post is to publish the better.
6. Send posts in the Right Format
This leads me to my next point – wherever possible send your post to the blog you want to appear on in a format where it can easily be copied and pasted into the back end of that blog. I LOVE it when guest posters send me text files already marked up into html so I can copy and paste them straight in. I generally do a little re-formatting but it is so much easier if things are already formatted in html to some extent.
The best way to do this is to simply write the post up as a draft in your own blog – then copy and paste the html out into a plat txt document to send over. If you’re including images I generally would attach them to the email and indicate in the post where they should be inserted.
If you’re not sure about what format the blogger prefers to receive guest posts in – shoot them an email to ask. Alternatively some guest bloggers I’ve worked with will send two versions of a post – one in a Word Document and one in html.
7. Link to Other posts on the Blog
One technique that some of the very best guest bloggers go to the effort of doing is making sure that their guest posts interlink to other posts on the blog that they’re submitting to.
This is good for a few reasons including:
- it shows the blogger and their readers that you’re familiar with the blog you’re writing for
- it helps the SEO of the blog you’re submitting to
- it gives readers more to read and increases page views on the blog you’re writing for
It certainly takes more work to do this step but it does make an impression.
8. Monitor and Interact in the Comments of the Post
Some guest bloggers feel that their job is done when they send the post off to the blogger for their consideration. However the best guest posters going around see this as just the beginning.
One extra task that can lift the guest post to another level is to monitor the comments being left on the post and interacting with those who read it. This shows a willingness to followup with readers and can make the post more useful to everyone.
9. Promote the Post after its launched
One last task that can also make the post all the more effective for both you and the blog you’re writing for is to take some time out once the post is live to promote it to your own network.
Link to it on your own blog, tweet about it, submit it to other blogs in the niche to see if they’ll link to it, promote it in forums, email it to your newsletter list…. etc
The benefits in promoting the guest post are numerous:
- it makes an impression upon the blogger who is using your post (which could lead to further guest posts or opportunities)
- it can make an impression upon people in your own network to see that you’re published elsewhere
- it can help the SEO of the post to have it linked to (which has flow on effects for you both in terms of traffic and SEO)
All in all – the more successful the post is the better for all concerned so do take the time to give it some promotion – as if it were your own.
What Tips Would You Give Guest Posters to Help Their Posts Become Exceptional?
I recently did a guest post on robbsuttton.com and we received some great comments, but one thing I learned is the bloggosphere is actually an amazingly small place.
After receiving the ‘word’ that the post was ‘live’, I made an announcement in a closed members forum for members of blog mastermind. Within hours of posting the announcement, there was a reply to my post from Robb, stating how successful he felt the guest post was…I was blown away!
I guess Robb had access to this closed forum and saw my pingback, so he actually took the time out to follow up on my promotional post. That was awesome!
I am now realizing the whole networking and mutual support provided by the professional blogging community has the immense power of drawing large numbers of new readers. After submitting that guest post, I had the highest number of page views since starting my blog!
The concept of linking to other posts wihin the blog you are submitting to is intriguing and great advice! I’ll be doing that for my next submission to problogger…;)
Thanks heaps Darren!
How to became an exceptional guest poster that state by you attempted by many people including me. thank you for writing that you made really useful for me.
Oh this post makes me feel so much better! I’ve been guest posting and feeling like, “Dang I just gave them my best stuff!” LOL Here are my guest posts http://thenichereport.com/blog/?author=22 and http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/author/naomi-trower/. I have a few more coming out in the next few weeks. I love the concept that it’s a new way of article marketing. I didn’t think of it in that way but it’s so true! Thanks for providing this valuable resource for me.
Very timely post, Darren. Thank you, it confirmed what I long suspected. I had heard someone say, too, that you should guest post your 2nd rate material, but that always seemed counter-intuitive to me. Glad to hear you should give away your good stuff.
I never thought about # 9 promoting posts, I’ll have to give that a try, thanks
I’ve had a great experience guest posting.
Here’s what I did:
Wrote a solid post that I thought would work well for the blog I was “targeting”.
Emailed the blogger with a short message like “Hey XXXX, I’ve written a guest post that I think your readers would really enjoy. Thanks for your time, Ryan” I attached a text file with the HTML and a Word file (for easier reading) to the email.
A few days later, I received a reply. The blogger had scheduled my post for the next week!
It went better than I ever thought it would. I just wrote a good post, put myself “out there” and it all worked out in the end.
I wouldn’t waste time with emailing the blogger and asking if you can do a post. Write the post first, then send it to them. If they like it, fantastic. If not, send it to another blog.
The main thing is that you CANNOT be afraid to put yourself out there. If you think you should be blogging on your own site, then you need to have the self-confidence to post on other blogs too!
Most bloggers are nice people. They aren’t going to bite your head off if your post isn’t what they’re looking for. At most, you’ll probably receive a “Sorry, but I don’t think your post is the right fit for [INSERT BLOG NAME HERE].”
Take a chance, odds are it’ll pay off.
Ryan is right. I’ve done the same thing. One blogger really like my post and scheduled it out. It was a great experience because it was a blog I really liked and read regularly.
Another blog I sent a post to basically said, “Good post, but we don’t think it’s right for our blog.”
Did it make me feel bad? Not at all.
I took the post and put it on my blog.
That’s why it’s a MUST to give other bloggers your A material. The worst they will do is say no. If they do, you can just submit it somewhere else or put it on your own blog.
Thanks for these tips.
I am just getting into guest posting myself so this article has been a great help to me.
It seems it comes down to offering your best work and doing all of the donkey work such as finding suitable images. In short, making it as easy as possible for the blog owner to want to publish your post.
Can you get paid to guest post? Im a goarticles expert along with having a pretty decent blog i used to write on until i started doing other things.
I would love to write a few post it would be fun, get payments to paypal.
Great post! Got me thinking of new ways to approach questions on my blog. I absolutely agree with your point about “asking” people for their opinions. Hadn’t occurred to me…but you’re right! We need to give permission to speak up!
How did you know I was gearing up to start looking for some guest blog gigs? Thanks for the info!
I’m actually using these tips to guest blog on some high profile blogs. These are great tips and a good blueprint for anyone to get started in guest blogging. The exposure doing this is amazing and build not only your traffic but your credibility. Thanks for posting this Darren
thanks darren for an informative post. i have a question that one of your earlier guests asked. “when is the right time for a beginner blogger to pursue guest posts?”
All great information! Bloggers will be thanking you when submissions to their blogs become easier to process.
I’d add #10: proofread before sending your submission. Or better yet, have someone else proof. Simple typos, glaring grammatical errors or confusing phraseology also make it hard for blog publishers to accept your submission.
@Beverly: The right time is now. :)
Just a tip, I offer free guest blog posting on numerous sites, try bagwhiz.com for bags, zedomax.com for tech, keetsa.com/blog for green, and ringoblog for ring. Look for the guest blog button.
Should also mention your “resource box” at the end of the post, in which you introduce yourself in a sentence or two and link back to your own Website and/or blog. Otherwise, readers assume that it’s the blog host posting.
Don’t expect the blog host to do this for you. If you want the attention, you have to craft a good resource box. See guest-posters on Copyblogger for exceptional examples.
My tip is simple: Please check your spelling, your grammar, your usage of the language, and make sure it is polished and clean. Clear and error-free writing makes a great impression, and the opposite could turn away some amazing clientele, and the different is subtle but the impact is large. Always double check for these things!
Yet had to write guest posts, but on the basis of the above, you need to write it as well as for your blog.
I agree that an enhanced perception of the article. Optimization of image and text – is a mandatory thing.
The main drawback of guest post is that you have no control over them in the future. You may not edit, update or delete them.
Speak the truth! and I still think my favorite internet marketing video was the SEO rapper. since he has millions of hits I can assume that everyone here has already seen it but if not check it out.
What I found particularly interesting in this post is the idea that guest posting has more benefits than article marketing to promote one’s own profile. I have done a fair bit of article marketing, but will certainly be on the lookout for more opportunities to do guest blogs from now on.
When it comes down to it I think Alec Baldwin said it best in the Glenn-Garry movie. A.I.D.A attention, interest, decision and action. I’ll spare you guys the full speech where he cusses everyone out.
wow this is so myterious! I liked the story and I wil share it with my friends, think they will lied it so much as I did. Indeed I gave the link to you blog to some of them and they are now your constant readers and Great post on things all bloggers should know and practice. The most important (in my humble opinion). You can be a blogging maniac and spend hours everyday devoted to it, but if the content isn’t effective, then it’s a fruitless effort.
Hi Darren, great article! Your tips helped me jump right into guest posting. Here is the URL (cut & paste) of the post http://www.anglotopia.net/anglophilia/guest-post-the-ultimate-anglophile%e2%80%99s-complete-guide-to-afternoon-tea/. I was not on Twitter at the time so could not tweet it. Thanks for your great articles.
Here’s another tip that came to me as I’m double-checking a guest post I’m writing for someone’s blog – check your guest post’s title in Google and make sure it’s unique! If you find something very similar already out there in the blogosphere, help your host blogger out by re-writing the title to make it compelling, but very unique for their blog.
My tip is simple: Please check your spelling, your grammar, your usage of the language, and make sure it is polished and clean. Clear and error-free writing makes a great impression, and the opposite could turn away some amazing clientele, and the different is subtle but the impact is large. Always double check for these things!Web Marketing.
If this comment doesnt appear after reading all those instructions Im sending a carrier pigeon next
Very helpful tips. Guest blogger’s job really consists more than writing. It includes tech savvy as well as marketing savvy.
Theresa Ip Froehlich
Certified Life Coach
Thank you so much.
I just wanted to run guest posting campaign to get more presence on the web.
7 years today, these tips still work 100%. It’s incredible!